Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Daniel C. Jansen


Concrete is considerably stronger in compression than it is in tension. When cracks form in concrete members, the flexural stiffness of the member decreases and the deflection increases which increases the overall size of the member. Prestressing concrete remedies this problem by inducing a compressive stress in the concrete thereby reducing the net tension in the member and increasing the load required to crack the member. Traditional prestressing is generally limited to large, straight members. During the last decade, shape memory alloys (SMA) have become more prevalent in engineering and civil engineering applications. The shape memory effect refers to the contraction of the SMA when it is heated to its austenite phase. When a prestrain is induced in the SMA, it can be recovered when it goes through the phase change. Nitinol, a NiTi shape memory alloy was used in this research. Thin, steel cables were also tested to provide a comparison. Two different Nitinol alloys were studied in this research. The alloy M wires were elongated to 8% stain while the alloy X wires were prestrained by the manufacturer. The wires were cast into thin concrete beams and once cured, the beams were heated and a phase change from martensite to austenite occurred in the Nitinol. As a result, the Nitinol contracted and compressed the concrete. The SMA fibers are randomly oriented and allow prestressing to occur along all three axis. This is ideal for thin, curved specimens. Third-point bending tests showed that the SMA fibers prestressed the concrete and upon reheating the cracked specimens, the shape memory effect provides partial crack closure.